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Crist signs $8.5-settlement for Minouche Noel

The wait is over.

Nearly two decades after state-contracted doctors paralyzed Minouche Noel in a botched back surgery, Gov. Charlie Crist put his signature on an $8.5-million settlement for the 19-year-old and her parents.

"No amount of money can repay them for what they have suffered," Crist said. "But what we have done today is just. And it is right."

A group of South Florida lawmakers, including bill sponsors state Sen. Nan Rich, D-Weston, and state Rep. Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, joined the governor at the YMCA of South Broward to watch him sign the multimillion-dollar claim as Noel looked on.

Also in the group, former state Rep. Chris Smith, who sponsored the bill last year and watched it die in the last hours of his final term.

"Governor, this is a long time coming," Smith said.